G6 Hospitality is a leading name in the hospitality industry. The parent company of Motel 6, G6 is a travel platform for reservations, revenue management, customer support, and much more, all developed on the Cloud. Researching and adopting new technology trends to expand the business is the brains behind the operation, Jessie Burgess. With over a decade’s worth of experience in building top-notch informational infrastructures for a multitude of organizations, Burgess is currently the CIO of G6 Hospitality. He is always one to tackle problems in the most efficient way while keeping the consumer in high priority. His past job experience is a testament to the fact that he is not only a tech genius but also an extraordinary leader. Jessie leads his team in innovating and adapting to the new waves of technology in today’s market.
Jessie Burgess takes a moment to exclusively talk with CIOReview to shed some light on the current technological trend in the hospitality space.
If you had a wish list for solutions to the technological challenges in your industry, what would it be?
A big challenge in hospitality technology right now is finding a balance between the deployment of guest-facing technology and back-end technology enhancements. No one has an unlimited budget or human resources, so opportunity costs must be weighed with every technology-focused decision. Often, the least flashy technological enhancements deliver the largest ROI and long-term benefit to the organization. We know, however, that we have to balance this drive for efficiency with changes in our experience-enhancing technology.
"If I had a wish list for our technology providers, it would generally include easily accessible, highly-available, cloud-based services that scale in price and delivery based on our demand"
If I had a wish list for our technology providers, it would include easily accessible, highly-available, cloud-based services that scale in delivery based on our demand. This would all be delivered in a secure environment that seamlessly integrates real-time data collection for analysis along with a robust monitoring capability. Also, we need our technology providers to build and deploy their software within an architecture that allows modular flexibility to plug in or unplug components of their software suite on demand. To achieve this, these providers would need to ensure their contract terms are also structured in a fashion that allows this flexibility for the customer.
Although tricky, enterprises wish to have a 360-degree view of their customer data. What would be the best way to go about this?
Gaining a 360-degree view of your customer is complex and potentially very expensive. But the returns can be tremendous when you get it right. Just like most things that are complex, there are many possibilities for missteps. Your expectations and timelines need to be clear and realistic. This provides you with more time to build and add components which in turn, lets you be more strategic with your implements and understand where your returns come from. Whatever depth you decide to go in your 360-degree efforts, do your best to extract return as early as possible while being very deliberate on how fast you expand.
How can technology give leaders within your industry a competitive edge?
I think Cloud, business intelligence, and IoT will have a significant impact in providing a competitive edge within our industry. Leaders that have a well-defined, thoughtful strategy in these areas may be able to get ahead of the game. The cloud environment, when utilized correctly, extends your reach and flexibility in ways that were unheard of a few years ago. You can take advantage of scaling your processing, storage, and connectivity while remaining elastic in your level of investment. Business intelligence (BI), often fueled by big data, allows you to better understand what’s going on with your customers, your systems, and your environment as a whole. Lastly, IoT will, more often than not, utilize the strength of a cloud back-end to feed additional data to your BI platforms, allowing for enhanced analysis and control capabilities.
In your industry, what are some solutions that you wish existed to help make your job easier?
Security is probably our most challenging area. Information technology security is a multifaceted area that requires a myriad of layers in your approach to tackle it. An evolving information landscape brings with it new threats, requirements, tools, standards, and much more. That being said, the costs continue to grow in direct correlation with this increasingly-complex landscape. The second challenge is the increasing demand for “always-on” services. With higher service interoperability and more service-providers delivering via cloud platforms, some of your legacy platforms running on traditional architecture have a hard time keeping up. Our internal IT consumers are demanding more real-time services with rapid enhancements—quickly exposing the shortcomings of some legacy platforms. All of a sudden, we see that there is a strain on the maintenance time for the infrastructure team and longer release cycles for the development team. While this new environment is challenging, it creates tremendous opportunities to help advance any business.
Could you share your thoughts on a few trends in technology that would impact your industry?
With so much emerging technology, there are no bad guesses as to which will have a greater impact. Once properly fit into your strategy and properly utilized, any of them could change your organization for the better. For G6 Hospitality, the cloud will have a significant impact. We’re near completion of a full cloud-based property management system rollout with HotelKey. Also, we’re in the early stages of a project to move our entire central reservations system platform to the cloud. The cloud will help us better achieve core business objectives while also delivering a reduced footprint, consolidated management capabilities, high scalability, and higher predictability. I also believe IoT will have a big impact on the hospitality industry as a whole. We’ve only begun to scratch the surface when it comes to the potential capabilities and efficiencies to be gleaned from this technology.